Referring to themselves as an “experimental punk-rock suite,” Plymouth Breeze is anything but orthodox in the way they approach music. Their self-titled EP, released November 22, 2019 via Little Cowboy Records, is what you would expect by sneaking a peek at the album’s artwork, which is avant-garde by nature and demonstrates a highly artistic flavour. Hailing from Manitoba, Winnipeg, the Canadian outfit seems to have a massive amount of skill and flair for innovative songwriting. Even though Plymouth Breeze doesn’t eclipse the 10-minute barrier, there’s a glimpse of potential within an otherwise average recording.
While the experimental label tends to get thrown around quite a bit for musical acts inspired by progressive rock legends and math-rock wizards, the characterization is quite fitting when it comes to Plymouth Breeze. Although the extended play is rather short and severely limited with regards to intriguing material, there is enough creativity shining underneath the exterior. “Plymouth” is easily the standout track on the album, showcasing a cornucopia of complicated polyrhythms and dynamic transitions that would leave even the most adept songwriters impressed. The intricate musicianship and songwriting are also present on “Breeze,” which has a far more vigorous tone than anything else on the album. While the entire band does an excellent job throughout the EP, drummer Nick Fondse is probably the standout musician as his style is vibrant and inventive, directing the pace on both main tracks.
Despite the rather compact nature of Plymouth Breeze, half of the songs on the EP would constitute as “filler” in my opinion. While extended plays are expected only to have a handful of songs, there’s an odd feeling of disappointment after finishing the recording from start to finish. “Flood of ’97” is an intriguing instrumental that slows down the pace after the first two songs but fails to impress in the end. “December’s Lament” tends to be more of an experimental track that you would expect after listening to a ten-minute epic, but in this case, it feels a tad out of place. Overlapping the music is a recording of a conversation occurring between bandmates, giving the track more of a personal feeling, but failing to deliver anything memorable.
Overall, Plymouth Breeze a solid debut from an experimental Canadian group that’s still in the process of manifesting a unique sound within an innovative scene. Fortunately, there’s an immense amount of talent behind the songwriting, and once the band polishes their style, their first full-length should have longer-lasting appeal. However, the EP is rather disappointing overall due to the lack of catchy material. And for that reason, I end this review with what came to mind after listening to Plymouth Breeze: Meh.
Written by Jonathan Berthold
*edited by Dominic Abate